Goal Kickers: K. Bulluss, A. Dyer
Best Players: M. Spillane, E. Pittonet, E. Hall, L. Rinaldi, K. Azzopardi, S. Giles
A chilly but thankfully sunny morning greeted us for our first away game for a couple of weeks, down at St. James Park. Early weather signs were of a swirly, right to left wind favouring the Burwood Road end of the ground and thankfully the sun was forecast to stay out so despite the wind, the sun would at least be keeping us a little bit warm.
We were hoping to continue our winning ways today and make it 5 on the trot but we knew that Swinburne had come off a couple of good, hard fought wins in the last couple of weeks as well, so we knew that we had to be on our toes, so to speak. A win wasn’t going to be easy this week as we had quite a few out after last week and right before the first bounce we also had a very, very late withdrawal due to injury, but nevertheless, we believed in our form and our structure and probably more importantly, in one another.
Come the first bounce however, Swinburne had other ideas and scored their first goal incredibly quickly out of the middle inside of the 1st minute and then again in the 3rd, 5th and 3 more times in the quarter. We struggled to catch them, our defence was under siege the entire first quarter and our midfield just could find a way past the midway line of the ground into our forward 50. Swinburne’s full forward made our defenders work really hard and despite their valiant efforts, she just seemed to be everywhere in the first quarter. 8 scoring shots to 0 in the first quarter saw us going in looking pretty ragged and down by 38 points at the first break. Disappointing to say the least.
The quarter time message was simple, forget the first quarter, reload and do what you know you’re supposed to do; stick side by side with your opponent, play in front if you’re able, lead to good space, don’t all go in at congestion/stoppage situations, and run smart/efficiently.
Our second quarter was much improved over the first. We stemmed the Swinburne scoring flow and managed to score our first major of the day and add 3 minors as well, our inaccuracy largely due to our inability to read the wind, with at least 2 wayward shots fading at the last second on the right to left swing at the Burwood Road end. We threw a spare tall down back as an intercept marking player and floating defender and that seemed to create a bit of ‘breathing room’ for us as our backline continued to fight the good fight and repel as many attacks as they could. Going in at the half time break having only 7 more points added to Swinburne’s score was far better than the haemorrhaging of the first quarter, however there was still a lot of work to do if we were going to stand a chance at running out winners.
Positive chats in the rooms at half time and a few personnel changes in an attempt to get some more score on the board and the girls came out for the second half looking to atone for an uncharacteristically undisciplined and ‘silly’ first.
Again Swinburne came at us and again and again our defence repelled their forays into their forward 50. Exhausted and running on fumes, our defence fought gallantly to hold their opponents to 1.2 in the third and unfortunately our forwards were unable to do much better, only adding a minor score for the quarter. The third quarter turned into a display of team defence out of necessity, as our mids were forced to tackle and chase a lot more than what they have become accustomed to due to Swinburne’s unrelenting defensive pressure and ability to find targets out of their backline. We were getting a bit of a reality check this week unfortunately.
Final quarter, it’s not over ‘til it’s over but looking around at the faces in the 3-quarter time huddles, we were tired and there really wasn’t a lot left in the tank if there was anything left at all! To the girls’ credit they kept fighting all the way to the end and added 1.1 in the last quarter to 1.3. Some really disappointed girls walked off the field after the 125th VAFA anniversary match but there were some positives, not the least of which were some pleasing individual performances and our ability to refocus and play patches of good football.
Goal Kickers: N. Walden 4, C. Reid 2, G. Ratnakumar, S. Woodward, L. Venditti, A. Boyd
Best Players: N. Walden, M. Careri, D. Gates, C. Hains, J. Collins, H. Lee
Round Eleven against Albert Park down at the Snake pit last time we meet we had a draw. I was confident that if we played with the same intensity as last week that we would be a great change to get the four points today. The attitude before the game normally gives you a good indication of what’s to come. The warm up and approached prior to the game was very good, which is normally taken into the game.
The first quarter we started slowly and Albert Park basically took control winning stoppages running into space and scored four goals for the quarter. We were second to the ball and our work rate was well below par, we manage to score a goal through Gumpy late in the quarter to be 19 points in arrears at the first break. Our defence needed to tighten up and play more accountable football.
We spoke about the clearances and stoppage setups at quarter time as we needed to change a few things in order to being accountable and playing to team structures. The second quarter we were attacking the ball with more vigour and our pressure around the ball increased as we started to hold our own. We still wasted a lot of our opportunities up forward by going too wide and not playing direct through the corridor. We manage to kick two goals for the quarter with goals to Chuck Reid and Luke Venditti. Our ball use had let us down and also our forwards needed to lead with more purpose to create opportunities. Our general attacked on the ball was good along with our ball movement out of defence with J.C , Haines, Boyd, J Mc leading the way. The Cobra’s were still down by 17 points at half time.
The 3rd quarter normally the premiership needed to be a good one, we started to win the stoppages and play more accountable football with Big Angus, Gates, Choco and Staly’s winning the hard ball, which creating opportunities for our forwards. Woody kicked out first for the term as we started to get on top. Boyd kicked our second and we were back in the game. Our backline did a great job restricting Albert Park to 2 goals for the quarter. A late goal from the boundary line kicked by Nathan Keith Walden, keep us in touch, 9 points down at the ¾ time. Even though we had taken control of the game and had played the better football , we actually didn’t have the score on the board to reflecting our efforts.
At ¾ times we spoke about how great it would be to sing our song at the end of the game, but this was going to come down to a lot of hard work, discipline and our desire to win.
The last quarter the Cobras played the brand of football required to win the game, fast ball movement, switching, running to space and using our voice along with attacking the ball with intent. The Cobra’s took control and we started to get rewarded for all our efforts. The last quarter become the Nathan Keith Walden show he kicked our first for the quarter along with our second and third. The look on his face after he kicked those goals was captivating, the crowd and the players roared with every goal. Chuck Reid chimed in for his second goal to kick the sealer and the game was beyond doubt, Cobras up by 17 points. Albert kicked a late goal but the damage had already been done, winners by 10 points. Our backline had held the opposition to under 10 goals for the second week in a row – well done Guys. The effort today by all the players was awesome ,we were behind on the scoreboard all day but never gave up and to come out winners in the end was a testament to our character. Young Herch and Nathan Keith Walden played their best games for the club today. (Well done guys!). When the siren went the feeling around the ground was one of triumph. Singing the club song after waiting 7 weeks had such a great feel, the look on all the players’ faces their smiles said it all, this is why we all play the game of football, for moments like these.
Best Players: J. Blakemore, R. Walmsley, S. Fitzgerald, A. Wheeler, J. Mreulje, J. Carrington
In a must win clash v Albert Park on another glorious sunny Melbourne winter’s day, we came out of the blocks well to kick the first 2 goals of the game instigated by some fine ball movement out of D50. Our slick ball movement had us looking the goods, as our midfield of Wombat, Blakemore, Mreulje & Wheeler were on top and our defence well led by Richy Hummerston were locking down well which was pleasing to see. A late goal right on quarter time to our opponents closed the margin to only 8pts, but the signs were good with several of our areas up and the recent block of training looking to be taking affect on the players. The second quarter turned into a real arm wrestle, as Albert Park seemed to move the ball easily out of stoppages (even though we were winning them), with a well set up outer ring to receive which was in space with time to dispose of the footy upfield. For periods of the 2nd quarter, we had lost control of the game, but our pressure on the ball created turn overs which allowed us to counter attack and stay in the game. Down by 3pts at the main break, we spoke about concentrating on the process and forgetting the scoreboard, and things will inevitably take care of themselves. But at this point our confidence seemed shot, as our hungrier opponents dominated the 3rd quarter and should have kicked us out of the game with 9 scoring shots to 2, but due to their inaccuracy only kicked 2.7 to be only 10pts up at the last change and the door was ajar. The last break couldn’t have come at a better time, and to the lads credit, a fantastic fighting spirit emerged in the last as we kicked 3 unanswered goals and kept them to a solitary point to run out 8pt winners. When the game was on the line our clutch players really found something, as Wombat, Buckets, Lowden, Blakemore, Fridge, Wheeler, Wheeels, Carrington, Scooter, Richy Hummerston, Lloyde, Mitchy, Driscoll and Robbie Goodwin stepped up and made sure we grabbed the 4pts to keep our season on track. In another must win clash this coming Saturday v Sth Melbourne, we cannot afford to take these guys lightly. In fact we need to smash them and take another step forward in our much improved ball use and game style in our run home to the finals. Should be a cracking day with the girls across the road playing the same opponents, so let’s have a great day and head to the ball with 3 x wins!!……..Doaky…….